Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Tool & Die Makers' Wooden Tool Chest


Tool and Die Maker's chest that I found at Costco.

I bought this wooden tool and die makers' chest at Costco several years ago and I am finally putting it to its intended use: to hold my hobby tools.

I used to spend my summers in high school and college working in a moderately sized factory, about 50 employees. I would run punch presses, drill presses and lathes as part of my job. I would often interact with the small team of tool and die makers who made the metal dies that go into the punch presses (and I never lost a finger or any body part during my work here). It seemed that all of them had one of these tool chests which held their own personal sets of various tools and measuring devices that they would use in their daily trade. When a die maker moved on to another company, he would take his wooden tool chest with him.

The various drawers pull open and reveal their contents of drills, Exacto knives 
and blades, pliers, rulers and mitre saws and boxes, etc.

I thought that these tool chests looked really cool and I always wanted to have one. Maybe about four or five years ago, someone in the online community found these at Costco and this is how I discovered this little treasure. I bought it and brought it home and put a few tools into it, but I never really used it for its intended purpose. Recently I was trying to find my T-Square so that I could cut up some foam core to make buildings. I looked all over the Man Cave for what seemed like forever before I finally found it. Then the next time I needed my T-Square, naturally, I couldn't find where I had put it. This was starting to get annoying and so in my best version of Scarlett O'Hare I said: "as God is my witness, I am NEVER ever going to misplace any of my tools again!"

Recalling that I had this chest somewhere in my basement, I decided to find it and then put all of my tools in it and place the chest on a rack next to my work bench. The chest was sitting in a corner of the room, behind my big comfy chair, serving as an end table of sorts. I opened it up to find it filled with a flotsam and jetsam of single wargame figures and artillery equipment, among other things. One of the drawers was filled with GMB Designs SYW Russian flags and some North Star metal spears that I use for flag poles. There were a few Exacto knives and blades in another drawer.

I took everything out of the chest and replaced it with all of my hobby tools. So now they are organized and I can find a pin vise, a box cutter, a protractor or what have you when I need to use them. Now I know where to find my various hobby tools.

I do not know if Costco still sells these tool chests, as I bought mine awhile ago. However, if you happen to be in one of their stores then give it a look-see to see if you can find one. I think that it cost about $100 to $150 back in the day.


  1. Lovely looking tool chest and very handy too, I really need to do something similar!

  2. It looks 'just the job' and very handsome too with an added dash of nostalgia.

  3. Way to neat and tidy Jim, there is nothing more enjoyable than spending an hour looking for a tool you need for modelling that is lost on the workbench😃.
    Very nice looking tool chest.